Is there Truly Wisdom in Living a ‘Life of Moderation’ or ‘Living In The Middle of the Road?’

Lake garden drive june 13 015

Are ‘living in moderation’ or ‘living in the middle of the road,’ merely clichés or is there truly wisdom from the ages behind the phrases? Is their reason as to why a person chooses to live in the extremes vs the middle of the road? Personally, I will say that the older I get, the more I realize that living in the extremes requires a lot more energy/input than merely sitting on the fence or walking down the middle of the road. There may be a lot more excitement/thrills/entertainment etc. attached to living the high life but one can’t go on in this fashion forever. There has to be a balance in life; such as with the ‘yin and the yang.’

In researching my topic, I ran upon an article by Jamie Chamberlin in the Monitor on Psychology; ‘The Time of Our Lives-Do you live in the past, in the moment or the tomorrow? New Research explains why it matters.’ 2008, Vol 39, No. 9. Featured article (right-click and open in another window). This article was based on a now famous ‘marshmallow study’ of 4-year-old children. They were given a choice of eating their marshmallow now or waiting for a while and getting two. “The ones who could delay their reward are future-oriented in their decision-making, while those who took an immediate reward are chained to their present needs. In fact, Zimbardo maintains that every decision we make is governed by our internal time perspective, a sort of unconscious cognitive response style that’s shaped by such factors as family, economics, geography, education and culture.”

The article’s discussion went on to state; “but, the main difference between those two groups of children, according to Stanford emeritus professor Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD, was their time perspective: The ones who could delay their reward are future-oriented in their decision-making, while those who took an immediate reward are chained to their present needs. In fact, Zimbardo maintains that every decision we make is governed by our internal time perspective, a sort of unconscious cognitive response style that’s shaped by such factors as family, economics, geography, education and culture.”

Dr. Zimbardo went on to say that “Each of us needs a healthy balance of past, present and future orientations, Zimbardo said at APA’s Annual Convention. Living entirely in one time “zone” can harm your health, relationships and finances, particularly if you become trapped in the darker aspects of a particular time orientation. Each of these orientations can be good,” said Zimbardo, but in the negative side, they’re terrible.”

Is this the message ‘living with moderation’ our predecessors were trying to pass on to us? Dr. Zimbardo did go on (in his aforementioned article) to give further examples of the different personality groups and their time perspective, which is well worth reading. “Knowing more about how time perspectives shape decision-making has the potential to help those whose orientation may fail them, Zimbardo pointed out.” He also states that, “Ideally, people need to be able to shift perspectives fluidly.” “When there’s work to be done, you’ve got to be future- oriented, but when it’s done, take a break, have a message, reward and indulge the hedonistic side of you,” he said. “It’s that balance that’s critical.”

The featured article by Jamie Chamberlin, definitely attaches a twist in thought to the clichés, but at the same time, has some wisdom behind it. The healthy focus would be to aim for a balance in how we live all aspect of our lives. WE want to learn from our pasts, live in the present and plan for the future; equally being the key.

 

 

 

 

 

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